Location: CRHC at the NATATORIUM 1040 West Washington Street

The Indiana University South Bend (IUSB), Civil Rights Heritage Center (CRHC) is pleased to announce the upcoming two day lecture and roundtable series “The Struggle in Black and Brown: African American/Latino Cooperation and Conflict” which brings two leading historians of inter-racial civil rights history to the IUSB Natatorium in March. 

The lectures will be held March 12th and 13th at 6:30 pm on each night. A “Roundtable at the Nat” panel discussion on inter-racial cooperation and the future will be held at 11 am on March 13th. All events are open to the public. 

About the Events:

Public Lecture: "Power to the Poor"

Date: March 12, 2014

Time: 6:30 PM

Place: IUSB Natatorium

Speaker: Dr. Gordon Mantler, Historian 

Dr. Gordon Mantler, George Washington University, is a leading scholar of African American and Mexican American civil rights will lecture on the topic of his new book Power to the Poor: Black-Brown Coalition and the Fight for Economic Justice, 1960-1974 published by the University of North Carolina Press.Mantler’s book examines the Poor People's Campaign of 1968, an event long overshadowed by the assassination of its architect, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the political turmoil of that year. In a major reinterpretation of African American civil rights and Chicano movement history, Gordon K. Mantler demonstrates how King's unfinished crusade became the era's most high-profile attempt at multiracial collaboration and sheds light on the interdependent relationship between racial identity and political coalition among African Americans and Mexican Americans. Mantler argues that while the fight against poverty held great potential for black-brown cooperation, such efforts also exposed the complex dynamics between the nation's two largest minority groups.

Roundtable at the Nat: African Americans, Latinos, and Beyond

Date: March 13th, 2014

Time: 11 am

Place: IUSB Natatorium 


  • Dr. Gordon Mantler, George Washington University
  • Dr. Brian Behnken, Iowa State University
  • Dr. Marc Rodriguez, Director, CRHC, Indiana University, South Bend 
Format: Three authors of important books on Civil Rights and African American/Latino politics, cooperation, and conflict will discuss the history of cooperation between the two largest minority groups in the United States as well as the problems of inter-racial completion and discuss the potentials and problems of cooperation for the future. This round-table encourages participation of community members, students, journalists, and local faculty.

Public Lecture: “Beyond Fighting Their Own Battles: Black-Brown Relations from the Civil Rights Era to the Present."

Date: March 13, 2014

Time: 6:30 PM

Place: IUSB Natatorium

Speaker: Dr. Brian Behnken, Historian 

Dr. Brian Behnken, Iowa State University, is the author of an important book on the development of African American and Mexican American civil rights movements in the state of Texas. His prize winning book, Fighting Their Own Battles: Mexican Americans, African Americans, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Texas published by the University of North Carolina Press shows how between 1940 and 1975, Mexican Americans and African Americans in Texas fought a number of battles in court, at the ballot box, in schools, and on the streets to eliminate segregation and state-imposed racism. Although both groups engaged in civil rights struggles as victims of similar formsof racism and discrimination, they were rarely unified. In Fighting Their Own Battles, Brian Behnken explores the cultural dissimilarities, geographical distance,class tensions, and organizational differences that all worked to separate MexicanAmericans and blacks. Behnken further demonstrates that prejudices on both sides undermined the potential for a united civil rights campaign. Coalition building and cooperative civil rights efforts foundered on the rocks of perceiveddifference, competition, distrust, and, oftentimes, outright racism. Behnken's lecture seeks to move beyond the topic of his book to explore other issues related to inter-racial cooperation and conflict. Behnken is also the editor of The Struggle in Black and Brown: African American and Mexican American Relations during the Civil Rights Era and co-editor of Crossing Boundaries: Ethnicity, Race, and National Belonging in a Transnational World.